How Should Scrum Teams Plan Work To Be Performed Within Sprints? – Scrum, one of the most popular Agile frameworks, is well-known for its iterative and incremental approach to software development. At the core of Scrum is the Sprint, a time-boxed period during which a cross-functional team collaborates to deliver a potentially shippable product increment. Sprint Planning, a critical event in Scrum, plays a pivotal role in shaping the success of the sprint. In this article, we’ll explore how Scrum teams should plan work to be performed within sprints effectively.
1. Preparation Before Sprint Planning:
Before gathering for the Sprint Planning meeting, the Scrum Team should have a well-refined Product Backlog. The Product Backlog is a prioritized list of all the work that needs to be done. The Product Owner, one of the key roles in Scrum, is responsible for maintaining and refining this backlog. The items at the top of the backlog are typically more detailed and ready for the next sprint, while items further down may require further refinement.
2. Setting the Stage for Sprint Planning:
Sprint Planning is divided into two parts: Part 1, where the “what” is determined, and Part 2, where the “how” is defined.
Part 1: What to Do?
- The Product Owner presents the highest-priority Product Backlog items to the Scrum Team.
- The Developers seek clarification on the scope and objectives of these items.
- The Scrum Team discusses the selected Product Backlog items to ensure they understand the requirements and acceptance criteria.
At the end of Part 1, the Scrum Team should have a shared understanding of what work will be undertaken during the sprint. This is a critical phase because it sets the sprint goal and defines what “Done” means for each item.
Part 2: How to Do It?
- In this phase, the Developers collaboratively decide how they will deliver the selected Product Backlog items.
- They decompose these items into smaller tasks, estimate the effort required for each task, and create a plan for how to complete them.
- The Developers may use various Agile techniques, like Story Points or Ideal Days, for estimating the tasks.
3. Capacity and Velocity:
The Scrum Team should also consider its capacity during Sprint Planning. The capacity is determined by the team’s velocity, which is the amount of work they can typically complete in a sprint. Teams can use historical data from previous sprints to estimate their velocity.
4. The Definition of Done:
A clear and agreed-upon Definition of Done is crucial for Sprint Planning. The Definition of Done sets the quality and completeness criteria for all the work undertaken during the sprint. Without a well-defined Definition of Done, it’s challenging to achieve consistency and quality across the increment.
5. Flexibility and Adaptation:
Sprint Planning should be an adaptable process. If during the sprint, the Scrum Team identifies changes that could enhance the product’s value, they should discuss these at the Sprint Planning meeting and make necessary adjustments.
Sprint Planning is time-boxed, meaning it has a predefined time limit. For a standard two-week sprint, Sprint Planning is usually kept to a maximum of four hours (two hours for Part 1 and two hours for Part 2). Time-boxing encourages focused discussions and prevents unnecessary delays.
7. Sprint Goal:
The Scrum Team should define a Sprint Goal during Sprint Planning. The Sprint Goal is a concise, one-sentence statement that explains the purpose of the sprint and what the team intends to achieve.
Sprint Planning in Scrum is the linchpin of a successful sprint. It allows the Scrum Team to collaborate, commit to a shared goal, and create a clear plan for the sprint. By preparing the Product Backlog, setting the stage, considering capacity and velocity, defining “Done,” remaining adaptable, and time-boxing the process, Scrum teams can plan their work effectively and maximize their productivity within each sprint. Sprint Planning is where the product’s journey takes its next step, and when executed diligently, it can lead to remarkable results.